Katanga vs Johannesburg: a history of the first sub-Saharan African football championship, 1949-501
Peter C AlegiIntroduction
Boston University, United States of America
In 1949, J Graham Young, Chief Welfare Officer of the Johannesburg Non-European Affairs Department (NEAD), was on vacation in the Belgian Congo when he met Commandant Van Hoorebeke, a Belgian officer of the colonial security forces who presided over the Union des Fédérations et Associations Sportives Indigenes (UFASI) in Katanga province. Since both Young and Van Hoorebeke worked as organisers of African sport, the two white men decided to organise a soccer match, between black teams from Johannesburg and Katanga, in the provincial capital of Elisabethville (Lubumbashi), the Belgian Congo's second largest city. Following Young's departure, Van Hoorebeke sent an official invitation to the South African consul in Elisabethville, H L Well, on 3 May 1949: '[w]e have pleasure in informing you that we intend ... inviting a selected team of native footballers from Johannesburg to Elisabethville to play against the local team'.2 Belgian and South African authorities soon transformed the match into a 'test to decide who are the Association Football champions "South of the Sahara" '.3 Fourteen months later, Johannesburg and Katanga competed in a grandiose colonial showcase in Elisabethville staged in front of an overflowing crowd of 30 000 black and white spectators at the Stade Leopold II.
A historical investigation of this first, unofficial sub-Saharan African soccer championship provides a snapshot of African soccer at the beginning of the apartheid era, on the eve of the formation of the Confederation of African Football in Khartoum in 1957.4 This case study examines the political intentions of the Belgian Congo and South African states, and investigates the meaning of the sporting event for black urban working-class and middle-class participants. The actions and voices of South African players and administrators shed light on black sportsmen's social experiences and their agency within (and in spite of) the constraints of state-sanctioned racial discrimination and economic exploitation. The central argument presented here is that the history of African soccer cannot be neatly categorised as either an affirmation or a subversion of cultural imperialism. Primary evidence was extracted from South African government documents, the black alternative press,5 newspapers of the Belgian Congo, and the annual reports of football associations. We now turn to the origin of a colonial sporting idea and open, in the words of Phyllis Martin, an 'unexpected window on the multifaceted colonial experience'.6
Soccer, cultural diplomacy, and political athleticism
The cultural diplomacy of Belgian and South African authorities exploited the Katanga-Johannesburg championship as an exhibition of political athleticism.7 Political athleticism in the African soccer championship meant the public display of 'corporealised nation-states' that replicated the racial and economic hierarchies found in the mineral zones of Congo and South Africa.8 For the white-minority regimes, black athletes were subordinated cultural ambassadors who would improve the domestic and international image of Belgian and South African totalitarian rule. Soccer was ideally suited to meeting these objectives because black people in the expanding industrial, urban areas of the Witwatersrand and Katanga appropriated the inexpensive, egalitarian sport of football in the 1920s, much like their counterparts in other African colonies, the Indian subcontinent, and Latin America.9 By 1948 no other urban cultural practice in Africa matched soccer's force as a conduit for leisure, social control and popular expression.
Since the 1920s, the unholy 'colonial trinity' 10 in power in Elisabethville, that is the copper mining giant Union Minière du Haute Katanga (UMHK), the colonial government, and the Catholic church, had devised ways in which to create a disciplined, efficient, moral and healthy African working-class. The welfare ideology of the whites was synthesised in the UMHK motto 'good health, good spirits and high productivity'.11 These early efforts to control African work and leisure led to the establishment of Elisabethville's African Football Association (FASI) by Benedictine missionary Father Grégoire Coussement in 1925.12 Labour protests during World War II motivated the UMHK company's expansion of sporting and recreational opportunities in mine compounds.13 The failure of the UMHK's industrial sport policy was tragically exposed in December 1941, when troops armed with machine guns massacred almost one hundred striking mineworkers on the soccer field at the Lubumbashi compound.14
The usefulness of political athleticism in Katanga grew significantly when the colonial trinity tightened its control in 1945.15 After the war colonial administrators, Catholic missionaries, and industrial capitalists reinvigorated the 'good health, good spirits and high productivity' strategy to defuse the political energies of a rapidly expanding African population in Elisabethville.16 Consequently, the Elisabethville Football Association (FASI) in 1950 had over 30 affiliated clubs competing in four leagues divided into three divisions. Sixteen clubs also fielded teams in two 'Reserve leagues'. Names of local football clubs suggest company (Lubumbashi Sports), religious (Vaticano), government (Union Sportive Militaire Saio), and ethnic (Empire Lunda) allegiances shaped the organisation and social identities of Elisabethville soccer. In its annual report for 1950, the FASI listed 127 European members of administrative committees, over 1 250 registered African players, and 'thousands of supporters'.17 According to Commandant Van Hoorebeke, men, women, and children, workers and évolués (native élites), enthusiastically supported their favourite clubs, a fact which resulted in a 'better accomplishment of their daily tasks'.18 The colonial ban on boxing contributed to soccer's popularity among whites and Africans.19 Soccer's low-level violence, teamwork, and mass appeal made the game fit the colonial agenda to control African athletes' bodies and social energies. An added attraction of soccer was its very low cost, adaptability to any level playing ground, and immediate popularity among the African population. Football's success as a social pacifier in Elisabethville was such that Belgian officials paid half of Johannesburg's total travelling costs on the tour, and covered all the expenses of staying in Elisabethville.
In postwar South Africa, where the National Party's electoral victory on an apartheid platform in 1948 coincided with the end of wartime economic expansion and increasing African urbanisation, the Katanga match appealed to whites and blacks. Historically, the development of soccer on the gold-rich Witwatersrand parallelled the game's rise in the mining zones of Katanga. Football in South Africa became a central aspect of black urban culture during the inter-war years. Between 1920 and 1940 Africans established clubs and leagues in many urban areas, as well as provincial and national associations. In Johannesburg, mine clerks founded the Witwatersrand & District Native Football Association (WDNFA) in 1917. Soccer attracted the interest of white liberals and missionaries, mining companies, and municipalities who, like their counterparts in Katanga, wanted to defuse discontent among black urban workers by 'moralising leisure time'.21 Thus, the Johannesburg Bantu Football Association (JBFA) was born in 1929, and the Johannesburg African Football Association (JAFA), which split from the JBFA, in 1933. The burgeoning popularity of soccer in Johannesburg and the 'Bantu' and 'African' divisions made it difficult for liberals, missionaries, and the municipality to completely control the game in the black townships the way colonial authorities were able to do in the Belgian Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Zimbabwe, and Zanzibar.22
The Katanga-Johannesburg championship served a dual political purpose. Internationally, the match in Elisabethville would be a public exhibition of the (supposed) tangible results being achieved by colonial and apartheid African social welfare policies. In so doing, the spectacular sporting event would help mask internal chaos and justify white domination.23 In a letter to the Department of External Affairs in Pretoria, the Union consul, H L T Taswell, expressed the advantages of sport as a tool of cultural diplomacy and political athleticism: '[t]he sending of a Native Soccer team to Elisabethville could do much to improve the impression that the Union Natives are repressed and have little opportunity for sport or recreation'.24
On the domestic front, local governments in Elisabethville and Johannesburg stood to gain much from the match. A positive sporting performance by the Katanga team in front of a massive home crowd would 'prove' the merits of continued highly centralised, white control of soccer in Elisabethville. The tour also presented the Johannesburg municipality with an opportunity to centralise control of African soccer and thereby restrict black sporting organisations' role as potential social bases for political action.
The road to Elisabethville
The bureaucratic machinery of the South African state was unable to overcome time delays and financial difficulties so the match slipped to 1950. Correspondence between the Department of Native Affairs, the Director of Native Labour in Johannesburg, and the Department of the Interior revealed that African teams were unwilling and unable to undertake a lengthy, expensive trip to Elisabethville.25 When prompted, the powerful Chamber of Mines argued that employers 'would have liked to send a representative team to the Belgian Congo [but] they could not, at such short notice, guarantee the financial implications of the proposal and arrange about two weeks leave for each of the selected players'.26 Only the JAFA expressed interest in the tour. In order to make preparations, the consulate issued a report on the amenities and conditions to which the soccer visitors would be exposed in Elisabethville.27
The consular report cemented Pretoria's commitment to the sporting event by alleviating the South African state's political concerns about sending black athletes to a foreign land as cultural ambassadors. The consul reassured Pretoria that the 'policy of "apartheid" is strictly enforced in the Congo ... there is not [sic] fraternisation between Europeans and Natives'.28 The consul stressed the enforcement of evening curfews, residential segregation, and pass laws in Elisabethville, repressive policies that bore striking resemblance to Stallardist controls in Johannesburg. Taswell concluded, rather arbitrarily, that given these considerations and that African housing and labour conditions were no better in Katanga than in the Union, a soccer 'visit would not have serious repercussion in the Union ... [provided] that the Johannesburg team be well trained and well equipped'. 29 Most important, the consul emphasised soccer's political value: '[I]f they [Johannesburg players] give a good account of themselves here [in Elisabethville] they will do more to dispel unfavourable rumours here regarding Native administration in the Union than any amount of propaganda we can disseminate through official channels.'30
Union authorities made the final decision to send a team to Elisabethville after Van Hoorebeke suggested that the costs of the tour could be defrayed by incorporating Johannesburg's visit to Katanga into a larger programme with games on the Copperbelt of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).31 The tour's final schedule was a gruelling one: two matches in Elisabethville on 21 and 23 July, followed by Copperbelt games at Chingola on 24 July, Kitwe on the 25th, Mufulira on the 26th. After two rest days matches continued in Ndola on the 29th, Luanshya on the 30th, Lusaka on the 31st and, finally, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia on 2 August before the team returned to Johannesburg.
Who would represent Johannesburg's more than 320 African soccer teams? The answer was not readily apparent because the JBFA, the JAFA, and the Non-European Affairs Department were locked in a bitter struggle over control of land and resources for football in the 'city of gold'.32 In a move aimed at bringing 'Africans' and 'Bantus' under the control of the municipality, NEAD Manager L I Venables proposed that the JBFA and the JAFA form a combined team for the Katanga championship. Fully cognisant of the NEAD's nefarious political motivations behind the proposal, the JBFA and the JAFA defiantly refused to cooperate and this particular attempt to take advantage of the tour was unsuccessful.33
The ideology of political athleticism in the Belgian Congo and South African governments, however, imposed black athletes' subordination to white authority. For this reason, a white supervisor was required to accompany the Johannesburg touring team. 34 This humiliating condition provoked a sharp response from the JAFA, the popular organisation that featured township glamour clubs Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows at the Bantu Sports Club. Dan Twala, the tenacious, multi-talented president of the JAFA, asserted African opposition to white racism and paternalism in a letter to the Native Commissioner of Johannesburg.35
We are not very keen to have a European accompanying the team as Manager, because we feel this is an unnecessary expense, and the European himself will be out of place, and will not have the confidence of the boys. There is no European in our Executive and we cannot think of anyone who could fill this position adequately other than our own African man. If they insist on a European Manager, we are not prepared to accept his preferential treatment as a charge to the gate at Elisabethville.36
The JAFA's 'independentist' demands led to the exclusion of its players from the touring team. The JBFA --- an organisation 'born and bred in the Non-European Affairs Dept'37 --- was 'prepared to consider the ... terms and conditions' of the tour. 38 On 29 January 1950, at an executive meeting held at the Jubilee Social Centre at Wemmer Hostel, the JBFA resolved that, 'in the event of the JAFA withdrawing their men because of a white manager ... we are prepared to supply the team ourselves'.39 Cooperation with whites had its rewards. Not only did the JBFA represent Johannesburg against Katanga but, by the end of the year, the JBFA had moved its headquarters to a 'magnificent and spacious office', courtesy of Graham Young and the NEAD.40
The JBFA's accommodationism was a product of the inextricable connection between sport and the political economy of apartheid. At the time, the popularity of the association was waning due to maladministration, deteriorating play, and the Johannesburg municipality's unwillingness to adequately support African soccer.41 The departure of Orlando Pirates from the JBFA in 1947--48 and its subsequent affiliation to the JAFA in 1950 symbolised the decline of the JBFA in the late 1940s. The fast-rising Orlando Pirates replaced Sophiatown's African Morning Stars as the Rand's top club in the late 1940s. 42 African Morning Stars' fall from grace and the JBFA's decline were closely linked because both organisations were based in Sophiatown.43 For JBFA players, a sporting vacation beyond the borders of the Union offered them a temporary relief from work, adventure, and a chance to test their prowess in a continental competition. JBFA administrators sought to exploit the Belgian Congo tour to 'pull it[self] out of the downfall' and regain prestige.44 For these reasons the JBFA agreed to provide athletic ambassadors for white South Africa.
For maximum political effect and economic gain, Van Hoorebeke and the Union consulate scheduled the match on the weekend of the Belgian independence holiday of 21 July. This date was deliberately selected to 'give the Natives the impression that the Johannesburg Natives are coming direct from the Union to compete against the local Natives as the "International Champions of Africa' ".45 The dress rehearsal for the championship began, notably, on May Day 1950 when interim consul A V Lille paraded with the Governor-General of the Congo, the Governor-General of French Equatorial Africa, and the Governor of Katanga at the aptly named, Governor General's Cup final in Elisabethville. Katanga won the trophy by defeating Leopoldville (Kinshasa) 2--1 at the end of a weekend competition that drew over 40 000 Africans and a 'very large number of Europeans' to the Leopold II Stadium.46
The consul was sufficiently impressed by Katanga's performance to send a 'scouting report' of the team to Pretoria. This remarkable document contained a detailed technical analysis of soccer in Elisabethville and stressed the serious nature of the upcoming match.
One point that should be mentioned is the fact that the Copperbelt plays the British type of Association Football, while the Congo Natives play continental football and consequently players are not allowed to interfere with the goalkeeper or obstruct him in any way ... otherwise there will be 'incidents' on the field and spectators will express their disapproval in no uncertain way ... Penalties were awarded as a result of offsides and obstructionist tactics of which 'shouldering' and 'tripping' appeared to be very common. The referees were very strict.
I am convinced that the standard of Native Association football is much higher than that of the European teams [in Elisabethville] ... I wish to impress upon you that the Katanga team has proved its superiority in the Congo and they regard this visit of the South African team as a test to decide who are the Association Football champions 'South of the Sahara.' ... It will be embarrassing for the South Africans here, and especially for members of this consulate, if a weak team is sent here to represent South Africa. It must be remembered that only your very best team can beat the Katanga, and then only if they have the necessary combination.47
Government officials in South Africa failed to heed consular warnings. Instead, Graham Young claimed that the JBFA team was the 'best that can be got', which was disingenuous in the wake of the exclusion of the JAFA players. Anticipating a poor result, Young dodged responsibility by pointing out that team selection was 'made entirely by the Natives themselves' and that the athletes would likely be negatively affected by 'a long and tiring journey ... different climate, altitude and food ... [and] ground surface'.48 White South Africa's political athleticism undermined the principles of sport. The ideological desire for a docile, disciplined black team precluded meritocratic selection, at the cost of a potentially embarrassing outcome on the playing field.
Nevertheless, for the 18 players and two JBFA officials who assembled at Park station on 17 July 1950 it was 'unforgettable ... because on this day the dreams of sending a touring team abroad became true'.49 The material cost of this dream amounted to three weeks of lost wages and £391 of (scarce) JBFA funds for 20 train tickets.50 The JBFA and the NEAD agreed that lost wages would be compensated, in whole or in part, by gate-takings from a match in Bulawayo on the return leg to Johannesburg.51 The team, under the direction of managers D Makhutso and J J Mabotja, was composed of four footballers from African Morning Stars, three from Hungry Lions, three from Mighty Greens, two from Naughty Boys, and one each from Wemmer Blue Birds, Ladysmith Home Boys, Pimville Champions, Imperial Forces, London Walk Away, and Bushbucks. This group was joined by eight boxers (scheduled for exhibition fights in Northern and Southern Rhodesia) and by official tour correspondent Austin Xaba, a 27-year-old Zulu-speaking sports reporter from the Bantu World.52
The teams, travelling on a collective passport, left Johannesburg aboard a second-class car on the mail train to Elisabethville. D K Rycroft, the white NEAD overseer, took a comfortable seat in first class, courtesy of the Johannesburg City Council. On 19 July the South Africans reached Bulawayo station where they made final arrangements for the fund-raising contests with S S Juba of the Bulawayo African Football Association, and Neal Taylor, superintendent of the Bulawayo African township and trainer of African boxing teams. 53 In the early morning of Friday, 21 July, 83 hours after leaving Johannesburg, the sportsmen finally reached Elisabethville. Mabotja's comment captured the group's feelings: 'we were not only tired of the journey but sick of it'.54
On arrival in Elisabethville the South Africans were met by two Belgian officials who spoke some English and Afrikaans. The team was taken by bus to the Benedictine mission of St Jean. The Leopold II stadium was adjacent to the Catholic mission, itself strategically located on the southeastern border of the cité indigène --- the segregated residential area for urban Africans established in 1921 --- and the 'white' city of Elisabethville. Colourful flags bearing the words 'welcome Johannesburg' in colonial and African languages adorned city streets and the arch at the entrance of the mission compound where accommodation was arranged in the Catholic school's classrooms.55 Despite the long trip the team did not rest; instead they explored the cité where they mingled with local people.
We were all curious. We wanted to learn more about the country. Except for the vast differences in language we were convinced that we had arrived among our brothers and sisters ... The young boys and girls gazed at us as we began our struggle to make ourselves understood. Of the tourists, 'Shordex' was the first to attract big crowds. Trying to express himself in Sotho, Zulu, English and Afrikaans and even Fanakalò he was laughed at. One boy shook his head saying 'apana buwana' meaning 'no sir'. These were the experiences of all the men. But what could they do? It was not possible to overcome language difficulties overnight.56
That afternoon Johannesburg played against a team from Broken Hill (Kabwe), a Northern Rhodesian industrial town home to some of the oldest lead and zinc mines south of the Copperbelt. 57 The Leopold II stadium impressed the visitors: 'nothing in Johannesburg is like it. It is a modern ground with beautiful lawns.'58 The grass surface, however, proved unsuitable for the South Africans' physical, fast-paced style --- a British inheritance perfected on township gravel surfaces --- not least because the players lacked boots with proper studs and were competing only hours after a long, arduous journey. Broken Hill led 2--0 at the halftime break as Morning Stars midfield general 'Uncle Louis' Kgarome and forward 'We Ree' Maripa failed to link effectively with captain 'Shordex' Kitsa. In the second half the Johannesburg passing 'was of a very high standard' and Morning Stars striker 'Booikie' Raphela scored two goals as the South Africans earned a 2--2 draw.59 Local fans praised the South Africans' 'mathematical precision' in passing and their 'spectacular' ball control technique. Spectators were heard exclaiming: 'Ça, c'est du football!' (this is soccer).60
The South Africans' first day in the capital of Katanga ended with an evening reception at the movie theatre in the mission compound next to the stadium. The social event was hosted by the Centre Extra-coutumier, an agency of African municipal government created and controlled by the Benedictines and the mining industry in the 1930s.61 Leading members of the Centre Extra-coutumier held prestigious positions in the all-black comité executif of the UFASI --- the sporting body ruled by Van Hoorebeke's all-white comité direction --- their subaltern position in sport replicating their political subordination in colonial society.62 Austin Xaba described one such African official, Augustine Ilingio, as
a well-to-do man ... [who] owns flats, taxis, a store and runs a fishery. He pays no less than 29 African employees. Ilingio is married with a family of seven children and during the last world war he served in the British Military Force. He takes an active part in the local football association, one of the best run in Central Africa. He also owns a big house worth more than 56 000 francs which is about £400.63
Xaba concluded that 'all told, it [the Belgian Congo] is a pleasant place to visit provided you will be satisfied with the conditions as there are "no politics allowed". Even organised boxing is illegal, so that the big support for soccer is no surprise.' 64
The following day the South African squad went on morning visits to the Leopold II museum and the zoological gardens, and watched Katanga demolish Broken Hill 6--0 in the afternoon. This result confirmed that the winner of the Sunday Katanga-Johannesburg match would be sub-Saharan African soccer champions. Later that day, the Sophiatown connections between Morning Stars and the JBFA surfaced and created a major controversy in the Johannesburg camp. Mighty Greens and Hungry Lions players benched in the Broken Hill game threatened to withdraw their services for the remainder of the tour if they were not selected for the Katanga game. 'Vry Staat' Tsotetsi, 'Zyks' Dumakude and 'Dupes' Sekwalo charged that members of African Morning Stars bribed team selectors to play, claiming that '[t]hose who had provision will always be in the scheme'.65
When Sunday came, the gates of the Leopold II stadium opened at 1 pm. The curtain-raiser between Elisabethville clubs Englebert F C (future winner of the 1967 and 1968 African Champions' Cup) and Vaticano F C entertained 30 000 spectators divided along racial, economic, and generational lines in the packed stands. Higher than usual ticket prices reflected the prestige of the match.66 The match programme shows that admission to the Européens section in the roofed Tribune Centrale cost white adults 50 francs (white students 10 francs) while African adults paid 25 francs for a seat in the segregated Congolais section. The overwhelming majority of the African crowd paid 10 francs for entrance to the Tribune Laterale, and five francs to stand on the terraces (black students three francs). Three-day tickets (available only to Africans) ranged from 50 francs for the main stand, to 20 francs for the Laterale stand, and 12 francs for the terraces (students five francs).67 Without social data on fans in attendance we can speculate from ticket prices that this spectacular soccer match attracted a crowd representative of the diverse social, economic, ethnic, linguistic, gender, and generational background of Elisabethville's African population.
Fans and players alike awaited the contest with tremendous anticipation and excitement. The Belgian authorities' ban on 'superstition and fetishism' indicated not only their absolute intolerance for African cultural and social practices but, more important, the existence and use of propitiatory and protective magic in preparation for matches.68 Witchcraft was, and still is, part of urban football cultures all over Africa. In the words of Phyllis Martin:
Zulu religious specialists prepare teams for football matches. In Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and in Liberia, supporters and team members perform rituals to influence results in their favour. In Nairobi, teams budget for religious specialists. On the middle Congo, where resources were seen as finite, a match started with a preordained number of goals. The role of team magicians in this zero-sum game was to steal points from their opponents while protecting their own goals. African sport is 'bathed in the occult', wrote a Zairois [Congolese] referee.69
In addition to spiritual and tactical preparation, Johannesburg's players made alterations to their boots by fitting studs to avoid the problems encountered against Broken Hill. Interestingly, when trainers Mabotja and Makhutso chose the starting lineup they included none of the dissenters. The only change from the previous match was the replacement of Sam 'Mozambique' Duna of Hungry Lions, a lightning-fast winger timed at 9,9 seconds in the one hundred-yard dash, with the crowd-pleasing scorer 'King Marshall' Mvubu of Ladysmith Home Boys.70 Before taking the field, 34-year-old captain and school teacher 'Shordex' Kitsa offered moral encouragement and advice to the 17-year-old secondary school pupil and goalkeeper Zachariah 'Al Die Hoekies' Mahlatsi.
The Katanga team consisted of employees of the colonial government, BCK railways, and UMHK mines.71 In truth, the 'Katanga' designation was misleading since all the players were from Elisabethville clubs. League champions St Eloi contributed five players, Englebert and Vaticano two, Lubumbashi and Kipushi one each.72 The well-trained Katanga team had defeated all central African opposition encountered during the year and captured many trophies at the association and provincial level in 1950. The Leopold II stadium's grass pitch was perfectly suited for Katanga's short-passing game, a direct, machine-like style of play based on discipline, teamwork, tenacity, and relentless practice. The roots of this playing style were grounded in a colonial political economy that exploited soccer to 'inculcate respect for discipline, work and authority' among Africans.73
The white referee and two linesmen from the all-white Ligue de Football du Katanga (LFK) embodied colonial authority. Political athleticism was trumpeted by the performance of the national anthems of Belgium ('The King') and South Africa ('Die Stem') by an African military band.74 The pre-game festivities ended with team captains, François Pandemoya and 'Shordex' Kitsa, exchanging flags as a symbol of friendship. When the match got underway at 4:30 pm, the enthusiastic crowd witnessed an anticlimactic rout. Katanga combined hard defence with fast attacks and wall-passes that released wingers forward to cause havoc in the visitors' defence.75 Quick, spirited, and tough, the hosts demonstrated the efficiency of direct football according to the French-language daily, Essor du Congo. For their part, Johannesburg vice-captain John 'American Spoon' Khoza deflected three goals into his own net with teammate 'Nonnie' Moletsane adding another. The young goalkeeper Mahlatsi mishandled three long-range shots from the wings to account for three more Katanga goals. Offensively, excessive dribbling and poor finishing led to a number of missed chances. Manager J J Mabotja attributed his team's disastrous play to witchcraft, poor refereeing, and ankle injuries to Moletsane and Maripa.76 When the final whistle blew, Katanga had defeated Johannesburg by 8--0! A triumphant Katanga team received the winner's trophy from the chief executive of the COBOMA company in front of a jubilant home crowd. Observers judged the punishing 8--0 score as trop sévère (too harsh) for a Johannesburg team.77 The hosts' final message to the South Africans was: 'Your standard of football is very high indeed but your front line refuses to score.'78
As an exercise of political athleticism and cultural diplomacy the first sub-Saharan African soccer championship was relatively successful. The Belgians were clearly satisfied because everything in Elisabethville had gone according to plan. Large but disciplined crowds at the Leopold II stadium watched good quality football and celebrated a resounding victory of the Katanga side. Belgian colonial rule had showed it was as 'efficient' as its African football representatives. In a self-congratulatory tone Van Hoorebeke concluded that the championship showcased colonial development and justified white rule; in his words, soccer in Katanga was 'worthy of the Belgian Congo's Progress' and, therefore, 'blacks and whites owe themselves full collaboration and understanding within the UFASI, and [that] the authority of the European comité direction assisted by the Native comité executif must be preserved to ensure the harmonious development of the federation'.79
Van Hoorebeke was so pleased by the outcome that he pressed South African officials to make the visit an annual affair. 80 With the coming of apartheid, however, the notion that black soccer players would represent white South Africa as cultural ambassadors, or in any other guise, disappeared from state ideology. But soccer tours to and from South Africa involving black teams continued throughout the 1950s without government support. Continued interest in international competitions reflected soccer's popularity as an expression of African urban popular culture.
As for the South African participants, the rest of the 1950 tour saw Johannesburg win one match, lose three, and draw four.81 When the team reached Bulawayo in August the men were exhausted, homesick and most were limping from leg injuries. After a sparse crowd attended their last scheduled game in Bulawayo, the drained men refused to stay for a second, unscheduled weekend game which might have produced the £150 in gate-takings not realised from the midweek contest. In the end the players were never compensated for lost wages, not least because of Young's lackadaisical attempts in recovering funds promised to the JBFA by the white-run Copperbelt African Football Association and the UFASI.82
Given the trying circumstances of the tour, the JBFA men fared reasonably well. The team showed sportsmanship under pressure and built a sense of camaraderie after the initial controversies. Top scorer 'Booikie' Raphela and captain 'Shordex' Kitsa were praised for their great 'courage and perseverance' in playing in all nine games. Manager J J Mabotja concluded that 'we lost many matches and played unnecessary draws, but because we could not score. ... As far as ball control is concerned, we outclassed our opponents.'83 Nevertheless, in an interview in African Sports magazine several years later, 'Shordex' Kitsa, also known by the praise name 'Yasuka Yahlala' ('it goes up and it sits') for his exquisite ball skills, looked back on his distinguished career over a quarter century and remembered the Katanga football machine. When the reporter asked him to single out the best team he had ever played against, 'Shordex' replied without hesitation: 'The Katanga side of 1950'.84